Seasonal environments, episodic density compensation and dynamics of structure of chiropteran frugivore guilds in Paraguayan Atlantic forest

Richard D. Stevens, Heidi N. Amarilla-Stevens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

Seasonal environmental variation experienced in the subtropics may contribute substantially to dynamics of community structure. This is particularly true for Neotropical bats because the geographic terminus of most families occurs there. Paraguayan Atlantic forest provides an ideal opportunity to evaluate effects of seasonality on structure of communities; it exhibits notable spatial and seasonal environmental variation and lies near the edge of the geographic distribution of most tropical bat species occurring there. We examined seasonality of bat populations and communities as well as correspondence to seasonal environmental conditions in eastern Paraguay. Most species exhibited lower abundances in the cool than in the warm season. Nonetheless, magnitude of differences was species-specific. Accordingly, highly significant differences between warm and cool seasons existed regarding species composition, evenness and diversity. Moreover, consistent with competition theory, magnitude of positive correlation between morphological distance and abundance and hence degree of structure was greater in the cool than warm season. Across the New World, seasonality assumes various forms (i.e. cold winters, dry and wet seasons) suggesting that better understanding of mechanistic bases of bat community structure in general may come from seasonal perspectives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267-279
Number of pages13
JournalBiodiversity and Conservation
Volume21
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2012

Keywords

  • Bat assemblage
  • Bat community
  • Competition
  • Frugivory
  • Null model
  • Seasonality

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